What Motivates Employees To Work For Startups?

Startup companies have discovered the motivational secret that management has been getting wrong for years. Employees are motivated most by intrinsic rewards, not financial incentives and other “motivators” that hamper creativity. Startup companies offer environments that foster creativity, free thought and expression. The ability to enjoy meaningful work motivates employees to work in startup companies.

Startup companies, by their very nature, encourage creativity. Employees are building a company from the ground up, creating a roadmap of how that company will evolve. Employees in startups are able to see firsthand how their work makes an impact, giving them the motivation to work harder to create a useful product.

The traditional motivation model of rewarding hard work with money is flawed for many reasons. For one thing, trading work for money stifles creativity and encourages employees to work just hard enough to earn their money. There is no real motivation to put in the real work that it takes to grow a business.

Working in a startup is the exact opposite of the “carrot and stick” mentality on which some companies operate. Working at a startup is an exercise in passion. You will often see workers creating at a frenetic pace, sleeping on the floor and running on coffee and dreams. These workers feed off of their passion and their vision of creating a new product. While the money is good for these employees, it ranks very low on their scale of motivation.

Peer energy factors heavily into what motivates employees to work in startups. Startup company employees feed off of each other’s energy, drive and dedication. A trip into one of these offices will reveal a world of frantic workers pushing themselves to the limit. You would see celebrations when milestones are reached and workers pooling their intellectual resources to solve problems. This is the opposite of the environment that categorizes the traditional workplace where individual achievement is valued above all else.

In traditional office settings, most employees are expected to learn one job and complete those assigned tasks day in, day out. Not so in a startup company. Employees at startups are encouraged to stretch their mental muscles, taking on new tasks and learning new skills. This is rewarding to creatives who want to expand their knowledge and learn constantly.

Many people wonder what motivates people to work at startups. The intrinsic reward of working toward a tangible product or goal is priceless. Employees seek out startups to be a part of something great.

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